Psychotherapy in Germany

In order to become a psychotherapist in Germany, the student must initially study psychology for a minimum of five years. Upon completion of a (Masters) thesis, one is awarded the “Diploma of Psychology”. After that the individual must attend a private school for psychotherapy. This specialized education may take up to 5 years or more. During this time, the student completes more than 2000 hours internship and client treatment hours. This excludes the several hundred hours of supervision. The final exam needed for certification in Germany entails intensive study and case presentations in front of a board. Upon passing this exam, the individual is “approbiert” or certified and may practice psychotherapy with private clients.

This long learning process ist meant to ensure the highest treatment quality possible. Along with medical practitioners, the psychotherapist must indulge in life-long learning by participating in seminars and visiting conferences in order to maintain their practicing licenses.

In Germany, health care providers demand a certain application protocol to be followed prior to the actual psychotherapy sessions.  The client receives a medical form to give to his/her general practitioner (or a doctor of another medical field). The doctor writes his professional view on the client’s problem. This form is essential to the therapy application process.  The psychotherapist completes paperwork on the case and writes a detailed case report for each client. The application is sent to the health care provider, who in in turn sends this report to an external assessor who recommends therapy for the individual.

This process does not apply to self payment of therapy nor to some international insurance company policies.

Here is an interesting pamphlet for more information on this subject: Paths to Psychotherapy 

What is psychodynamic psychotherapy?

The primary focus of psychodynamic psychotherapy is to reveal the unconscious content of a client’s psyche in an effort to alleviate psychic tension. In a way it presents a modern twist of the practice of psychoanalysis. The main difference is that the client and therapist remain in a sitting position and that psychoanalyis aims to positively change deeply ingrained personality hues over a longer period of time. Like psychoanalysis, psychodynamic psychotherapy relies on the quality and intensity of the interpersonal relationship between client and therapist. Some principal theorists drawn upon are Freud, Klein and theorists of the object relations movement, e.g. Winnicott, Guntrip, and Bion. Some psychodynamic therapists also draw on Jung.

What is the difference between psychodynamic psychotherapy and life coaching?

Psychodynamic psychotherapy aims to uncover the root of a conflict in the client’s personal history and experiences that are making the client feel „stuck“ in the present. This involves an intensive and creative process of viewing life episodes together in a non-judgemental manner, comparing them to present-day behavior and in finding reasons and solutions for resolvement. The process is a development in 1-2 sessions per week over a time period of about 6 months to over 1 year.

Life coaching or also known as „counselling“ examines the present situation and aims to creatively find solutions customized to each client. Life coaching opens doors to dormant personal ressources and strengthens them. The goal of life coaching is to enable the client to see life in a more positive manner, enjoy greater life satisfaction and finding happiness. Sessions vary by case.

Choosing to work together

It is important that you feel comfortable working with me, and that I am confident that I may offer you the most appropriate support that fits your needs as best as possible. In our initial session we will take a closer look at your situation and at my professional capacity. You may then decide if my approach is for you.

On rare occasions, I may feel that my client’s needs be better met by a different type of therapy. Should this be the case, I will support you in finding the right alternative.